Merida’s 2020 Christmas tree lighting was a little different than previous years.
During Tuesday night’s ceremony at the Remate de Paseo Montejo, where a small Christmas village was erected, Mayor Renán Barrera Concha said that the festive lights symbolize the community’s hopes for better times.
He dedicated the conical tree to the medical professionals at the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Missing lives are usually counted, but not those that were saved, and for that reason, we want to thank the work of doctors and nurses dedicating this ignition to them,” he said.
To avoid crowds at the Remate, the City Council live-streamed the ceremony on Facebook. But fireworks could be heard for miles around without an Internet connection.
“This year around the tree we will remember those who are gone, but we will also have the opportunity to reflect on the importance of continuing with care, valuing what we have and trusting that what we had we can gradually recover,” the mayor added.
The city has been enthusiastic about public decorations, but priorities have changed. With budget cutbacks made necessary by the pandemic, Merida is scaling back this holiday season. There is just one tree instead of four this year and fewer street decorations have been installed along the streets and in public parks.
The private sector mirrored the austerity when the famous Coca-Cola Christmas Tree — a towering structure created with recycled bottles at Plaza Sendero — was canceled by the local soda distributor, pausing a 25-year tradition.